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Tetro Kornbluth
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« on: January 31, 2010, 04:53:42 pm »

Too much of a Chomskyan-Zinnist rant for me to totally agree with it but I want to bring it up so that I pinpoint to this precise thread the very moment some inane mumbler blathers on about "the media" (Definite article always included never extra).

On “The Media”: Winning the Culture War, Losing the Class War

Defaming “the media” is a national bloodsport played at with equal ferocity by pundits both right and left, who see “it,” respectively, as a) a firehose spewing a morally toxic mix of sewage and liberal propaganda into the nation’s living rooms or b) a platform for neocons and their moonshine-guzzling disciples to justify their insatiable bloodlust.  The first appraisal comes from the Right, which tends to focus on mainstream media’s entertainment arm; the latter is typical of the liberal critique, based on the left’s increasing sense that mainstream news bureaus are regime flunkies. Seeing as how I pretty much agree with both analyses, I’m left wondering at my own obsession with what is a universally despised, if equally inescapable, cultural institution: ”the media,” by all accounts, is [sic] likely to be found skulking around the same seedy dives and bordellos as are harlots, attorneys, and political consultants. Is that someplace I want to be? Well, on a summer Saturday night, maybe; but here it is Christmas Eve, and maybe I’m more in the mood for Bedford Falls.

Agreeable as it is, a good deal of this criticism misses the mark; it’s not wrong, but wrongheaded. Not that the media aren’t a herd of stupid, recalcitrant beasts in need more stick than carrot, and a great knotty stick wielded with a lot of vigor and little remorse; oh, they are, they are all that, and worse! But the partisan attacks on both sides obscure the real issue.

On the left, decrying FOX News as the rather obvious bit of state apparatus that it is always good for much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and keeps Keith Olberman employed to boot. But the left’s mild interest can’t match the Right’s obsession: Google the phrase “liberal media”–in quotes no less–and your results ring up an impressive 2,240,000 citations. Google “conservative media,” and you’ll have but a paltry 199,000 citations in your basket.In other words, the witchhunters on the right are having a hell of a lot more fun screaming about how offended they are than are so-called liberals.

But there’s a reason for this imbalance. While the left bemoans the mainstream media’s seeming thralldom to the Kristol cabal, from the perspective of the Right, “the media” are allied with far more nefarious forces than a bunch of federal bureaucrats (however creepy they might be in a cheneyesque sort of way). To the Right, something infinitely more sinister is afoot, something sulfurous, hooved and tailed. And limpwristed. And hook-nosed in a Mel Gibsonish, Borat kinda way. To cite just just one example, William Donahue, President of the Catholic League (and a very regular and warmly received guest on  … Bill O’Reilly’s show), explains: “Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It’s not a secret, okay? And I’m not afraid to say it. … Hollywood likes anal sex.”

That’s what I love about Bill Donahue, by the way. He’s an honest guy, and he’s willing to say whatever’s on his mind, no matter how immediately and obviously totally freaking batsh**t it may be. Of course, there are plenty of foks who agree with him, so maybe there is a case to be made that Spiderman III is  nothing but a virus for  innoculating a subconscious hatred for anything smacking of popery and a coincidental desire to commit the sin of sodom.  Me, I dunno; I ordinarily waddle away from a theatre filled with little besides that gassiness that comes of supersized cola drinks and too much popcorn saturated with some unholy chemical mockery of cow’s butter.  The very last thing on my mind after “Napoleon Dynamite” is a vigorous bout of sex, doglike or otherwise; and I’m hard put to remember the last movie I saw that even referenced Catholicism, much less had me murmuring “gol-lee … Catholics really do suck, don’t they?” In short, to be honest,  if I were a Secular Jew bent on sending audiences tearing out of theatres in a homicidal frenzy of anti-Catholic rage crossed with feverish lust for animalistic debauchery, I ‘d want to be somewhat more blatant in getting the message across. Or I’d hire Passolini. No, better–Russ Meyer!

For Donahue’s Protestant doppelganger Pat Robertson, the media is one wing of an unholy triumvirate bent on nothing short of mass murder; Robertson replaces “Jews” with “the liberal media,” but the queers and the catholic-hatas remain an integral part of the genocidal cabal : “Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It’s no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history.”

Yeah. That’s right, Reverend. On the one hand, Dachau; on the other, “Will & Grace.”

Interestingly enough, Donahue concluded his remarks by telling Joe Scarborough, on MSNBC, that “The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost.”  Which makes you wonder why he’s on the damn TV once a week whining about something or another. Like Chocolate Jesus.

He’s wrong, of course; otherwise, please explain Amy Winehouse. And why I can’t log onto the Net without running smack into Kevin Federline, whose popularity the ostensible “winners,” forces of respectability like Pope Benedict and Bill Bennet, can only envy from afar.

Nah. The”culture wars” are over all right. But “their side,” by which Donahue means those of who us who tuck in at night without checking carefully for the queer in the closet or the jew under the bed, didn’t, umm, lose.  Those of our Islamist brothers who are fond of critiquing our fun-loving ways and targeting our novelists for assassination are right about one thing: we Americans are nothing if not a grunting herd of pleasure-loving whores who seek out–or rather, are led to, and en masse–and relish every imaginable form of deviance, celebrating even as we tsk-tsk. Otherwise, explain Paris Hilton. All the Right can do now is to prosecute an ongoing rear-guard action, which doesn’t mean that any number of perfectly good lives don’t have all manner of  havoc wreaked upon by them by institutionalized codes regulating our pleasures. Still, “Defense of Marriage” acts, the appointment of antiabortion justices, the ten commandments nailed to the courthouse wall: these endeavors are best compared to the joke that is the long-lost “war on drugs.” The culture war is over, and the children of the enlightenment have won; now we are free to wallow in our gains, free to  follow the bewitching saga of Britney in all its lurid graphic glory, free to grind to the inspiring strains of Fifty-Cent, free to choose from literally hundreds of TV channels each night and listen to the sounds of gunshots ricochet round the room on our quadrophonic home theatre system, and earning the same stern Miltonic dictum that our English forbears did: “License they mean, when they cry liberty.” In any case, the barn door’s been open and it ain’t gonna shut.

And yet … at the same time we are far and away the most religious culture in the first world. How have we managed to pull off this neat trick? If the all-pervasive, omnipresent “media” with its unshakeable influence is either “liberal” or “conservative,” then why are we still locked in a national red-state/blue-state death grip when it comes to culture war issues and party politics?

The answer is simple enough. Mainstream media plays both sides off against the middle. Like every other industry in America, it’s amoral. A trollop; a woman no better than she should have been. FOX News brings you Sean Hannity and that great modern moral arbiter, Bill O’Reilly, bearing aloft the Loofah of Righteous Indignation and  damning the “liberal media” with endless breathy gusto, while the FOX entertainment channel delivers “Temptation Island.”  Simple.

Viacom doesn’t give a damn how you feel about abortion. The News Company doesn’t want to know your views on flag burning. Disney, wholly devoted to a cheerful brand of egalitarianism requiring only that Walt’s minions separate everyone on the planet from her euros and rubles and dinars and many, many dollars, isn’t interested one way or the other when it comes to your fondness for rum, sodomy, or the lash–or for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph for that matter. And neither, for the most part, do their shareholders at Citibank and Morgan Stanley care.  Fifty years ago folks paid good money to see Ingmar Bergman smiling beatifically beneath her wimple; thirty years after,  they paid to see her daughter defiled by the diabolically perverse Dennis Hopper; today–well, you know all about the jaded tastes of today’s audiences. It’s the same studios responding to contemporary appetites and cultural pressures.  On the aesthetic side, the studios and entertainment networks know how to respond to the essentially diffferent categories of viewers–so that given a potential critical mass audience, we can look forward to relishing endless sequels to “Big Momma’s House” as well as to Keira Knightly and the brothers Fiennes flouncing around in period garb and mangling the Classics of English Literature.

There's more here (and it should be read). Cut for word limit, anyway the beggining is the best of it.

Keith R Laws ‏@Keith_Laws  Feb 4
As I have noted before 'paradigm shift' is an anagram of 'grasp dim faith'
Cosmo Kramer
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2010, 07:28:00 pm »

FOX News isn't really part of the conservative media establishment, in the sense that it's a propaganda arm for established industrial/political power.  CNN fulfills that role quite nicely (with MSNBC as the potemkin alternative).  That's what the average joe means whenever he rages about CNN's liberalism.  What he really means is that CNN is elitist, but obviously in American discourse elitism in any kind of intellectual realm is always associated with liberalism.

Now the article is rather good, but in getting caught up in a left/right, citizenry/elite type spiel the author misses the real nature of FOX News.  Perhaps many in the conservative establishment intended for FOX to serve their interests squarely, but it has really evolved into something else over the years, much in the same way the GOP has lost control of its Tea Party wing.  The head has been lopped off the beast, and the result is Frankenstein's Monster.
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